Filtered, Please.

Posted by admin on May 9, 2016 in Randomalities |
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I drove off without my headphones this morning. Yes, I was Internet-less, at least the Internet I use when I ride the bus each morning and afternoon to and from work. It’s used defensively, to keep homeless people from asking for money, tourists from asking directions, and seat mates from conversing with me about anything.

It’s not that I can’t live with the Internet. I mean, I only use my phone during my daily commutes as a glorified Walkman, either listening to Pandora or the 4,500 other songs I have on iTunes.

Since my career requires a lot of editing skills, I’ve edited the Internet down over the years. This amuses me to no end, as I watch the Millennials surf endlessly, watching pointless YouTube videos, sharing their mundane lives on Instagram or Snapchat, or posting selfies and viewing endless clips of cat’s licking their ass and their friends being drunk.

I really don’t have time for all that nonsense. It’s not that I didn’t do the same at one point. Back in the day, I mean back, back in the day, I hung out around the hot tub on AOL, listening to clips of Jimmy Buffett music and splashing sound effects.

It was a total waste of time, a lot of time. This was back in the days of the 2400 baud modem, back when the computer was hooked up to a phone line. Primitive, I know. And the music and sounds took forever to load up and play. It was painful on so many levels.

Yes, I have been on the Internet since 1996. I am pretty sure that I reached the end of it somewhere around 2010. I even remember when it happened. I was sitting in my office, scrolling through links when I reached a screen that said, “The End.”

Nowadays, my surfing is pretty limited: Pandora, Facebook, The Seattle Times, CNN, Google News, Mental Floss, Google Maps and Search, and… well, that’s abut it, really.

As I said, I reached the end of the Internet and found that there’s really not much there to hold my attention.

Yes, this from a content creator.

I think that’s part of the problem. I have pretty high expectations for content. I can’t stand poorly produced content, whether it’s a video or a blog. And let’s face it, there’s a lot of crap out there that only serves to keep you distracted from the fact that we have complete idiots running for President and the fact that the Internet is largely a complete waste of time.

I just don’t have that much time these days. So, I have filters. Really good filters. I know what I need as far as input. I don’t really need more. My head can only hold so much stuff and as each day passes, there is less free space available.

I am definitely not Johnny Five. Remember him? Or it? The robot in Short Circuit, the one who kept saying, “Need input. More input.”

I already have plenty, thank you. Sure, I could always use more, but these days I am filling the nooks and crannies in my brain, not entire wings of the library.

Johnny Five would have loved the Internet. He poured through the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica in something like two minutes on the show. He could probably get to the end of the Internet in a half hour.

It took me 14 years, but I’m no Johnny Five, though I wish I had a laser guided weapon mounted on my shoulder when there’s gridlock in the afternoon commute.

I’m really glad that I developed filters at an early age. I’m not quite sure how it happened or why, but I have a pretty good sense of what is important, what is needed and most important, what is not.

I like to tell myself that this mastery of filtering occurred back in the day when a computer hard drive was an enormous 40 megs. Geez, I have Word files that are larger than 40 megs. But that was all we had to work with back then, and while it seemed like an amazing amount of space at the time, it was only amazing because we had to be diligent in filtering content, getting rid of everything we didn’t absolutely need.

Yes, writing requires solid editing skills as well, but unless you’re writing to a specific word count, a few extra words here and there don’t really matter. It’s not like the old analog days of writing stories for newspapers, where even the headline had to have a space count (you can put more i’s in a line than you can m’s).

So I’m not sure that the writing thing is where the good editing skills came from.

Not that it really matters. I am just glad I was blessed with this skill set in the first place. I think we should all have such mastery of filtering. We’d save so much time. We wouldn’t be like the guy next to me on the bus who just watched little snippets of his friends doing insipid things. An entire 40 minutes watching stuff that doesn’t improve his station in life or the quality of his existence. It’s just non-filtered nonsense.

Me? Without music this morning I went old school. I read a book. A real book. With pages and a spine and cover. It wasn’t on my iPad or my phone. It was full on tactile. Non-fiction, as they almost always are. Remember, I’m filling nooks and crannies these days. I still need to filter so fiction is mostly out.

In some ways, I long for the pre-Internet world. We used to actually look at things around us. They would inspire us to create, to be original, to think out of the box. Now we just stare into the box, watching our friends pour a bucket of water on themselves while the world outside passes us by.

There’s no beauty in a Snapchat or even a Tweet. It’s just clutter. And like the clutter in our closets, it begs to be filtered, sorted, stored or erased. It’s the nature of the beast, this need to filter out stuff we don’t need. Except RobZerrvations, of course.

In the Emerald City, wondering if I need to have my filter changed,

– Robb

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